Denise Rosier, Political Science Doctoral Student, Publishes Book of Poetry on Afrocentricity, Pan-Africanism, Black Nationalism
By Danyella Greene, Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology
What or who inspired you to write this book?
D. Rosier: I was inspired to write this book for several reasons. I have always been passionate about words, and about teaching. Combine that with my love for truth and knowledge about Black history and the role of diasporic people in the world was a great motivator. The catalyst came from my research idea and interest in Linguistic Imperialism. As a political science major and in a learning phase of my research, I was apprehensive about putting out a book so early in my doctoral studies. That apprehension was quickly resolved as I delved more into the topics of Afrocentricity, Pan-Africanism, Black Nationalism, Diasporic Excellence and today's rhetoric in the media. My current academic advisor, Dr. Daryl Harris, and my mentor, Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, thought it would be a good way to grasp the concept and theoretical framework surrounding my research, as well as to begin building a foundation in publishing.
Q: What is your professional background?
D. Rosier: In my professional background, I have worked as a certified secondary language arts teacher. I taught high school in Brooklyn, New York and the eighth grade in Lakeland, Florida. I also come from a background of writing and publishing in non-academic genres.
Q: How did you find time to write the book as a doctoral student and a professional?
D. Rosier: When I started my doctoral research and coursework, one of the fundamental things that resonated and reaffirmed by every professor, my fellow cohort and students, was that the easiest and fastest way to complete the doctoral process, was to learn very early what your passions are, apply the research, methodologies, and every paper to the various aspects of one's individualized journey. It was also reiterated, that there were no such things as great writers; there are only great re-writers. I took this advice to heart. One class I took afforded us the opportunity to read through various completed dissertations to get a feel for the lengths, subject areas, and the format for outlining the document. Other classes such as theory and methods encouraged me to begin writing the literature review aspect of my research interest and the theory and methods that would be applied. In order to do this, you have to know what your research question is. At first, I couldn't imagine how I could possibly pick my topic of study, even though it is suggested that it must be something personal and meaningful to such an extent that when you get tired and the process gets weary, you will forge forward because of the passion that binds you to the topic. But it happened to me in my Pan-Africanism class, when I began learning about the great scholars and leaders who see the world the way I do. Understanding the indignities and injustices imposed upon people of color. That knowledge intensified all the ideas and convictions in my formative years, and gave me sources and research to justify and dispel truths, and reinforced in me what I had always believed. Linguistic Imperialism, Afrocentricity, and Counter Narrative gave me new ways of seeing them, using their meeting and understanding how they fit into the media, into culture and into politics. As I said, this is all new and I needed to get comfortable with it, trying it on for size, mulling over it for fit, comfort and ease.
Q: What advice would you give others about finding a publishing company?
D. Rosier: I think in the academic arena, finding a publishing company is a very established process that is as ingrained in the minds of doctoral scholars, as much as the preparation for the dissertation process is. Having worked in print media, at major publishing houses with experiences mostly in fiction writing, learning to navigate the spaces of publishing for academia was just as monumental a process for me as it is for other graduate scholars. Everyone wants to go through an easily recognizable academic established journal or university press to publish their articles or books. It was risky going through Universal Write Publications LLC, because even though it is an established publishing house, it is only within the last eight years that it started publishing academic titles and even more recently-- within the past two years, become peer reviewed. The advice I received that helped me to decide was that publishing was more important than where I published. That every published author would say their first publication was not their best. That great anything take lots of practice, so I decided to start practicing now, and hopefully by the time I get to the ranks of Ph.D., some of that will pay off. I think finding a publishing company is going to depend on your academic affiliations, research areas of interest, taking a lot of chances and being willing to make mistakes.
Q: Have you written other books before? If so, what were the titles?
D. Rosier: I have another book available called, You're Published, Now What? It was published in 2009 and had two other contributing authors giving financial and online marketing advice. It's about how to begin marketing your book with or without a publisher. Hopefully, by the fall, I will have another one out to discuss. It will most likely be another poetry application to my research interest with a twist. Practice makes perfect right?
Q: What was the hardest part about writing this book?
D. Rosier: I found it hardest to refine my methodology and theoretical framework. I knew I was going to get hammered for that, and criticized most on it because I am trying to understand the foundation of how to layout and internalize my dissertation topic- I haven't gotten it all after only a year in graduate school. To help, I got an editor, who is a driven perfectionist. In some ways I was a great student and in others I was not, so I am sure there are notes I didn't include or expand, or deletions I didn't accept. So finding my voice was and still is hard. Another difficult thing is, especially now in hindsight, I realize I missed so much. Every class I take, like my linguistic class this past spring in African Studies, or my Theory class in Political Science, I think back on so much more I could have included or amended. On a very personal level, I fear that I will not live up to expectations, or there might be expectations of me now that I cannot meet. I don't want to disappoint the people who support me.
Q: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
D. Rosier: It was very enjoyable to just allow myself to fall into everything I have learned and believe and write the words down. As I used poetry as a manifestation of my research, the poems were so much fun to write and a demonstration of very deep soul searching. I enjoy later going back and amending, or saying them out loud, or wondering how they would flow if someone else were reading them. I got excited every time I felt like I had hit the mark with what I wanted to say, or something came out better than expected. And then there are those ones that made me introspective, and pushed me to greater emotional depths.
Q: What do your plans for future projects include?
D. Rosier: I plan to keep practicing through writing and publishing and strengthening my research topic and core understanding of its impact and relationship to other research. I have been asked to edit a couple of future projects, and there are various academic anthologies and journals that I endeavor to participate in. I also intend to have another set of poems out by the fall 2016, something more focused on my research, that will have a stronger socio-cultural and political value to my education and scholarship, something that will have a more profound impact on the things that are important to me. My most important project and future plan include successfully completing the doctoral program. As my mentors will say, none of this is worth it if I do not finish what I started.
Q: What advice do you have for fellow doctoral students who would also like to write a book?
D. Rosier: I would say just do it! Trust yourself and step out on faith. Being in the academy on a college campus can be daunting. Ask a professor to allow you to co-publish with him/her. Edit something, write a forward or preface, give a blurb or even just write a blog. Journaling out ideas is a great resource that I use, and I take with me at all times a note book in which I jot down ideas and experience Ah Ha! moments as they come to me. Just don't wait for the perfect time or opportunity. Make your opportunity happen.
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